Ruby Wins

Every day, for more than two years, Ruby has been asking for a pug. And every day, I have steadfastly held to my no-pet position, citing everything from logistics to her daily chore track record as my rationale. It’s gone back and forth, with each side digging in deeper. It felt like the Cold War. Every night at the dinner table, Ruby would have another impassioned speech for me – à la ‘Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall! ‘ Ruby wore me down. She outspent me in the emotion department. She spread her propaganda around Fry Lodge with her cute pug sketches, pug posters and Doug the Pug Instagram shares. She turned Kristine and Henry into allies.

A few weeks ago, I woke up and decided I didn’t want to be on the wrong side of Fry Lodge history. For her 10th birthday, we would give Ruby a pug. We surprised her with it on our drive back from Grandma and Grandpa’s house after Thanksgiving. She was shocked. She was victorious.

As Ruby turned 10 this weekend, it became clear we had made the right decision. Ruby is starting her second decade a new person. Every morning and evening, she takes her new little buddy, Arlo, for a walk. She feeds him, cleans up the occasional mess, and prefers playing with her puppy over watching YouTube videos.

Ruby had a birthday slumber party on her actual birthday. Arlo was the star of the show. The girls chased him around the yard and then took 15-minute turns holding the puppy as they watched Christmas movie classic, Elf. Both Arlo and the girls were moving a little slowly this morning.

Detente is over. Ruby won. All is good at Fry Lodge. Happy birthday, Ruby. We love you more than you will ever know. Thank you for your tenacity.

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The Flower Pot

In 1948, when my dad was a boy, his family built a cabin on Priest Lake, Idaho. That cabin was home to countless memories for the extended Fry family. Even after my grandmother sold it in the early 1980s, we rented it for a few weeks during summers for family reunions. The cabin was torn down in 2003 and replaced with a new home. Earlier this year, when that house came up for sale, my parents bought it. We decided to celebrate the Fry Family Thanksgiving there this year.

For several years, while my dad’s family gradually built it, the old Priest Lake cabin had no running water. As a boy, upon arrival, my dad’s first job was to fill two buckets of water from the lake – one for drinking and one for washing. His dad, my Grandpa Fry, built an outhouse up the hill from the cabin. They called it The Flower Pot, and hung a sign inside that said “No matter how much you water it, nothing ever grows.” The outhouse’s unique feature: it was a double holer. Apparently my aunts, uncles and grandparents had no problem sitting next to each other while they did their business.

When my parents bought the current Priest Lake house this summer, The Flower Pot still sat atop the hill. It had long since fallen over, and nobody had used either one of its holes in decades. Before having the relic hauled off, my parents salvaged several of the boards that were used to build the outhouse in 1948.

This Thanksgiving weekend, we used those boards to spruce up the new Priest Lake cabin’s modern day Flower Pot. My dad and brother nailed the old boards to the bathroom wall to support the towel rack and toilet paper holder. My daughter Ruby, using my old wood burning set, made a new sign, which now hangs proudly above the toilet. It’s just like 1948. But now, you don’t have somebody sitting next to you while you water the flowers.


Waterslide Time Machine

Family vacations are usually great for making new memories. Yesterday, while Henry and Ruby were busy with that, Kristine and I relived some old memories from our youth. We spent the day at Atlantis Waterslide Park in Vernon, BC.

Hit me with your best shot by Pat Benatar was playing as we entered the park. That was followed by Billy Idol, The Rolling Stones, Guns & Roses and Van Halen. We hadn’t entered a waterslide park; we’d entered a time machine. It was 1986.

With the soundtrack of our youth playing all day, we rode the slides, sunbathed and ordered food from teens working the snack bar. Kristine and I reminisced about our respective hometown waterslide experiences at Splash Down (Spokane) and Moby Dick (Omaha). I even relived the experience of being reprimanded by the lifeguard when I wore my sunglasses down the slide – a flagrant disregard for the rules.

Atlantis continued to crank the hits from the 80s and 90s, tuned in to The Beach 107.5 FM. Henry and Ruby thoroughly enjoyed the day. I think they even liked the music. They spent most of the time riding the slides together, with periodic visits to our spot on the lawn to tug Kristine or me up the hill to go down the Zoom Tube, River Raft or Double Trouble.

By late afternoon, after six fun-filled hours, the air became a little too thick with smoke from the BC wildfires, so we called it a day. As we drove south toward Kelowna on Highway 97, the kids quickly fell asleep from exhaustion. Kristine turned on the radio. The station? The Beach, 107.5.

Oh, Myra Canyon

As soon as the kids were out of earshot, Kristine leaned over and said, “I’m terrified.” I’d been focused on whether we’d all have the right tires for the gravel trail. I had not considered that others might be concerned about the possibility of falling to our death. That is, until I was half way across a trestle and looked down through the railroad ties, which were spaced about 12 inches apart – too close together to allow you to slip through, but far enough apart to make your heart rate quicken.

On day two of our 2018 Fry Summer adventure, we drove to the top of Myra Canyon outside of Kelowna, BC. Once there, we unloaded our bikes to ride the 12-kilometer length of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail that winds along the canyon ridge over 18 trestles and through several tunnels.

The Fry Family Quartet is now of mostly equal riding ability, which makes little adventures like this possible. Moments of terror notwithstanding, we all enjoyed the ride, which gave us the most amazing views of the canyon below, despite the hazy skies caused by BC’s wildfires.

Ruby and Kristine returned to the trailhead before Henry and I. Upon our return, we discovered them enjoying an all-American picnic in the back of our pick up.

If you ride a bike and ever find yourself near Kelowna, a ride along Myra Canyon is a must. It’s way more beautiful than scary.